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Postcards From Cyberspace

The Monitor's computer columnist shares his collection of e-mail from readers

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Anyone who thinks ``Interview With the Vampire'' is scary should see my electronic mail. Missives from all over cyberspace home in on this lonely outpost. It seems many readers have something to tell the Monitor's computer columnist. It warms a virtual heart to know you're paying attention out there.

In the nine months that I have been playing with [the Internet], I have yet to actually find any item of actual interest or any real information, or successfully log onto any gopher site listing any information I actually wanted.... As for e-mail and the ``talk'' program, they would be great if I knew anyone else with access to Internet. Free communications worldwide (because someone else is footing the cost) is a wonderful idea. But with all the talk about ``everyone is getting connected,'' nobody that I know is connected. Dan Schechter

Gee, Dan, you reached me. Doesn't that count for something?

I want to know what advice you can give to a young girl who's a celebrity of sorts on the ``Net.'' I've warned her about not letting her guard down, but she's very green on this stuff. Can you give some things that she should be aware of and what kind of information (aside from the obvious, of course) she should not be posting so openly on the Net? Joyce

I treat electronic messages like postcards. Anyone might read them: a stranger, my boss. So I only give out information I wouldn't mind anybody seeing. If you're worried about chat lines, use an alias.

I have often thought of writing you because I enjoy your articles. What finally pushed me to put fingers to the keyboard was your article ``High-Tech Reporter in a Low-Tech World'' [Nov. 1, 1994].

I came back to the USA in June after roughly a half year in Mexico. Much of my time was spent in the squatter settlements and in indigenous villages high in the Sierras. Electricity for a select few, water for the taking when you didn't mind the long trek to the one well in town that had semipotable water or (in the settlements) to the faucet which was available in the middle of the night. My luxury was my 486 laptop, which I used (including CompuServe e-mail) when at base in Cuernavaca.

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